Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently signed House Bill 1535 expanding the list of conditions eligible for treatment with medical cannabis in the form of low-THC cannabis (or CBD).
The bill falls under the Compassionate Use Program which will now provide access to medical cannabis for patients suffering from seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, terminal cancer or an incurable neurodegenerative disease.
This expansion also includes those experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and also any patient undergoing treatment for cancer regardless of severity or prognosis.
When the bill was established six years ago, it exclusively covered patients with intractable epilepsy, meaning that medication and other treatments did not completely prevent ongoing seizures. In 2019, many conditions were added (as above), and the number of prescribers and patients participating in the TX-CUP has grown exponentially as a result. The addition of several new conditions offers hope to many people who have tried traditional medical treatment but are still suffering and seeking relief.
CBD for Epilepsy, Autism
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin physicians were one of the first to use CBD to treat intractable epilepsy and with proven success. They have now expanded its use and seen positive impact on other conditions, such as autism and spasticity, and have even opened up a CBD Resource Clinic to address patient family questions.
“We know for certain it is effective to treat childhood seizures,” says Dr. Kane. “The use in autism is less clear, but I’ve become persuaded by its usefulness just by seeing my patients. It doesn’t cure autism, but I have seen significant improvements in behavioral outbursts and agitation [and] speech in kids with limited skills.”
Dr. Keough, who also serves as the Chief Medical Officer for Austin-based medical cannabis dispensary Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation, hopes that the more positive outcomes physicians have in helping patients with these newly approved conditions, the more the Compassionate Use Program will continue to expand.
“The more patients and prescribers that we have committed to this therapy and experiencing success, the more groundswell there will be to demand the Legislature to expand this program,” Keough said.
While Dr. Kane stated that cannabis is not a cure-all for every patient, he expressed that it is one tool all physicians and patients should have at their disposal to try when seeking treatment.
To learn more about the CBD Resource Clinic or using CBD to treat your child’s condition, contact your provider at Child Neurology Consultants of Austin.